The Chancellor's £5.4 billion package of financial support to help the housing market announced in the Budget included the launch of two schemes under the Help to Buy banner - 'equity loan' (the Government will loan up to 20 per cent of the value of anew build home) and 'mortgage guarantee' (lenders will be given incentives to make more mortgages available for people with small deposits).
This is how the property professionals reacted:
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation
"Overall there's more good than bad for the property industry in this Budget, and the Chancellor appears to have avoided last year's mistake of announcing half baked policies, like the 15 per cent stamp duty rate. For too long time the size of deposit needed to get on the housing ladder has proved prohibitive and has been the missing piece in a coherent housing strategy, it's good to see the Government move to remedy this."
Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb
"This budget ignores business leaders, economists and even government ministers who've been calling for radical action to kick-start our economy by building more homes. Instead, the government has chosen to extend existing schemes which have so far have failed to deliver on any scale. This budget was a huge missed opportunity to build enough homes to make sure our children will have a stable and affordable place of their own. Helping a small number of first time buyers today will do little to meet the aspirations of young families tomorrow."
Donna Houguez, Market Analyst for Quick Move Now
“I think it is admirable that the Government is making this statement of support to the property market, and it clearly hopes that creating movement in this one sticky area will, in turn, stimulate the layers above. However, I am concerned that take up of past government schemes, from lenders, house builders and buyers alike, has been pitifully low and no rationale has been demonstrated to explain why ‘Help to buy’ is likely to be any different.”
Robert Bartlett, CEO of Chesterton Humberts
“Second steppers, and even third, fourth and fifth steppers, are the surprise beneficiaries of this year’s budget as they have now been allowed to enjoy some of the incentives that have previously only been available to first-time buyers. Overall, I welcome the measures relating to the housing market, which definitely represent good news for aspiring homeowners and the housebuilding sector, but I am still questioning whether there was enough in the Budget to really build on and sustain the momentum seen so far this year."
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients
"The Help to Buy initiative should provide a significant boost for the housing market. If lenders are serious about boosting their business levels, this is the perfect way of doing so and it should be of real assistance for first-time buyers in particular. The Budget really will help those who aspire to own their own home."
Michael Fiddes, head of agency at Strutt & Parker
The new mortgage guarantee will help those who do not have a substantial deposit but can afford the monthly mortgage payments. Anything which frees up the availability of mortgages and gives mortgage lenders the security and confidence to know they will be repaid is undoubtedly positive as one of the factors influencing buyers’ decisions is the lack of mortgage finance. This initiative will help buyers move up the housing ladder and inject some momentum into the whole housing industry.”
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors
“Help to Buy will help stoke the fires of the mortgage market. But why wait nine months to introduce it? But once it does come in to effect, house purchase lending and sales should rise at the start of 2014 and provide a welcome boost to the economy.”
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst
“There is obviously some detail to be worked out which is delaying the start of the Help to Buy scheme for existing homes, but this represents an immediate shot in the arm for the new build industry. It also effectively gives them an exclusivity period of nine months over existing homes that will give them an upper hand in wrestling buyers away from the resale market into their brand new offerings till the start of 2014.”
Mark Hayward, President of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
“Housing received a surprising level of attention but there is still work to be done. Plans to inject £130 billion for low mortgage deposits and expand NewBuy and Right-to-Buy schemes are welcome, but significant challenges remain to ensure such housing initiatives are fully understood and adopted.”
Brendan Cox, Managing Director of Waterfords estate agents
“The new mortgage guarantee that the Chancellor has announced is extremely positive news for our industry. It will have an effect on the whole of the market, as people who couldn’t afford such a large deposit will now have the help they require. It means first time buyers will be able to get to the market earlier and come out of rented accommodation or leave the home that they have been in with their parents and this will inevitably have a knock on effect as it will get chains moving again.”
Jonathan Moore, managing director of Easyroommate.co.uk
"The Help to Buy scheme will go some way towards releasing some of would-be buyers from the rental sector but this policy in isolation isn’t enough to solve the housing problem. There is still a huge supply and demand imbalance in the rental market and this needs to be addressed. Boosting house-building is one part of the answer but the Chancellor has missed a golden opportunity to unlock accommodation sat idle across the country."
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist
"The range of measures announced under the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme to kick start the housing market are much needed. Helping those who can’t afford large deposits by using the government’s balance sheet to guarantee mortgages and using capital savings to offer shared equity loans on new build for all buyers will help prevent prolonged market stagnation - although it presents a significant risk to government. The devil will be in the detail about how the government will treat buy-to-let and those in negative equity. However, government need to be careful this doesn’t create another housing bubble – pushing prices up at the expense of buyers."